Rennie's from Heaven - Art School Is a Classic Nouveau; ALISON YOUNG Went on a Guided Tour of Glasgow School of Art - the Masterpiece of Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), November 24, 2001 | Go to article overview

Rennie's from Heaven - Art School Is a Classic Nouveau; ALISON YOUNG Went on a Guided Tour of Glasgow School of Art - the Masterpiece of Charles Rennie Mackintosh


Byline: ALISON YOUNG

Why would anyone want to tour an art school?

Glasgow School Of Art is something special. The heart of this working art school is the Mackintosh Building, designed by our own Charles Rennie, famous the world over and regarded later as, architecturally, one of the greatest achievements of all time.

The guided tour takes you through this amazing building, dodging art students en route, and tells you how it came to be constructed, what Mackintosh's ideas were all about and about the man who created a revolutionary new style.

Where does the tour take you?

Many Glaswegians have never been inside the art school but tourists flock to the tour so, although you can pop in, it's advisable to book.

The tour takes about an hour and a guide, many of whom are ex-art school students themselves, will take you along the corridors of the school, through The Gallery to the Mackintosh Room, finishing off in the Mackintosh Library. At the end of the tour it's worth popping into the shop.

How did Mackintosh come to design the school?

The art school was founded in 1845, but owing to its popularity, it needed to expand. So in 1896 it held a competition for the design of the new building. The firm of Honeyman and Keppie won and, although he was not given due credit - his boss took it all - it was Mackintosh, their apprentice architect, who designed it.

By the time the school had money to complete the building 10 years later, Mackintosh was more successful and was able to add to it even further.

What was so new about Mackintosh's thinking?

Glasgow was a very bleak, dark, industrial place with interiors to match but Mackintosh brought light, space and elements of the natural world into his designs.

He was influenced by all sorts of things - Celtic revivalism, the Arts and Craft movement, even traders arriving in Glasgow with Japanese prints. The Art Nouveau movement gave him some fame around the 1900s but it's only recently that he has become recognised as a great, original architect.

What ideas can you see in the art school?

Mackintosh designed every element of the building, right down to decorative air vents and clocks. His work was so involved and detailed it extended to the atmosphere - he manipulated the changes in light as you walk through the school.

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Rennie's from Heaven - Art School Is a Classic Nouveau; ALISON YOUNG Went on a Guided Tour of Glasgow School of Art - the Masterpiece of Charles Rennie Mackintosh
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